So You Think You Can Save
It’s that time of year again. Schools are just about to start or have already started. We all know what this means - Back To School Shopping! With a flood of coupons and fliers promising door busting deals flooding your mailbox, how can you not be tempted?
Retailers all over the United States gear up for this time of year. It is the perfect opportunity for them to drive traffic to their store for what is deemed necessary for the start of school. It is a great time for them to get a spike in their business, cash in on huge profits, and pull out all the stops to get your attention. After all, when there are so many stores to choose from - they are fighting for your business.
According to retail analysis reports, Back To School sales are important to retailers, coming in as a close second only to the holidays. This is the time for them to make up for the lack of sales happening during the slower months. And with a variety of coupons at your very fingertips, it is hard not to be lured in. Yet, why the sale prices on kitchen gadgets and other household goods? These are not necessary for children to go back to school. Yet, these “too good to be true deals” just can’t be passed up! So, who wants a new coffeemaker?
As a rule of thumb, retailers often mark up products 100%. That being said, if a shirt costs them $10, they will sell it to you for $20 or sometimes even more. (Seriously, do you think those oh so popular, almost completely see through shirts from say… Abercrombie… are worth $40! You need to buy three of them just so you don’t see the goods underneath.)
While the amount that each store marks up their product is hard to pinpoint exactly, that markup is what allows them to put the article on “sale” and make you feel like you are getting a sweet deal.
Typically, I hate shopping. Today was no different. I still hate shopping. However, it is a necessary evil. Kids grow too fast, and if lucky, the clothes might last long enough to be rugged play clothes. Not to mention, I like to somewhat play by the rules. In the parenting handbook I got about a decade ago, it stated that “getting new clothes for your children to wear at the beginning of the school year was important to their social standing.” We don’t want them to be the center of ridicule for wearing the exact same outfit as last year!
Ok, so that isn’t exactly true, but I remember I always got a few new outfits for school, so I am just following my parents lead. However, while some parents may only buy their children new clothes when absolutely necessary… first day of school, an important function, Christmas, etc… I find myself picking up clothes for my kids several times throughout the year. If you pick up an outfit here and there, you don’t end up with a hearty $500 bill all in one sitting.
But, I do make sure they have at least one new outfit for the first day. The second day they can go back to be the kid’s I know and love on a daily basis - playing so hard they have holes in their jeans (and not the ones purposely put there by designers!) and shirts that are handed down because they still work, as in they cover the stuff that needs to be covered. Who cares if it has a ketchup stain. Their new clothes will probably have one by lunch anyway.
So today, with a coupon promising 20 percent off, the family headed out to Kohl’s to see what we could find. Since Back To School shopping is such a big deal, the prices were ridiculously marked down - 80% off, 70% off, 60% off, 50% off - it was a frugal parents dream come true! Of course anything marked at 50% off or higher was a complete waste of time. It was pieces of lost outfits and stuff that was obviously damaged or not even usable. But I am sure someone will find use for it… especially at that steal!
After selecting a basket full of clothes, doing a fashion show and narrowing our results down to a few select items, we headed to the checkout. As each tag is swiped, I feel my heart beating faster and faster. That item cost me $26 and some change… and that was on sale. Obviously when you are blinded by sales, you have a tendency not to really look at the prices.
By the time we had swiped our card, the total amount we owed was $20 less than what we actually saved. That means we paid about $130 and saved about $150. Without those sales, we would have spend $280 on just six lousy outfits. That is ridiculous! That is more than $46 dollars per outfit! However, they are on sale, so it is less ridiculous when the average outfit is only $21. But it did get me thinking...
Do you steal need that coffee pot?
I like Back to School Sales because...
The Thinking Game
I realized then and there how bad the markups really were, and then I realized that because I had already known that, I have never paid full price for anything while shopping at Kohl’s. It seems to me our attention is drawn to the stores at this time of year because of the need. It is Back To School shopping and that is just what we do as parents. We want our kids to start the year off right… with a snazzy new outfit!
For me, I usually get them an outfit or two just to celebrate the first day of school, and then a few months down the line, I might get them another outfit or two to replace the ones they had outgrown or worn out. Yet, these sale prices that seem so promising during this time of year, are really there all year long. You just have to be patient enough to not jump on the outfits during their initial premiere. Don’t worry, they will still be there and they will eventually be cheaper.
So after much deliberation of the lack of change left in my wallet, I realized I still hate shopping. Maybe it is because of the high markups that eventually become a decent price only when it is on sale. It is deceiving to make us thing that we truly “saved” that much money.
On the other hand, I did walk out of the store with a smile on my face. Not only because I was finally done shopping, but because even if it is a crock that the sale price is really the only decent price, it still feels good to know I saved $150!
What I have been reading...
- The Betty Situation
- The 3 P's to Successful Writing Online
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- Winning a Hubbie is Not All Fun and Games
- Google Poetry or a Poem about Google
Google is the rhyme, or rhythm to our lives so this poet wrote a poem.
- The Drum Within my Heart
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